Scotland lost their first match at the 2016 CEV U19 Women’s Volleyball European Championship Small Countries Division finals in Edinburgh, going down to Luxembourg (19-25, 17-25, 21-25). It leaves Scotland, Luxembourg and Cyprus all on two wins but Cyprus, who play twice on the final day, are the only unbeaten team.
Scotland had earlier beaten the Faroe Islands 3-0 (29-27, 26-24, 25-17) after a remarkable first set. Scotland looked down and out and trailed by nine points 23-14 but somehow turned it around, winning it on their fourth set point. The hosts trailed 13-22 when coach Vince Krawczyk brought on Louise Agius and it turned the set in Scotland’s favour. Some steady serving from Agius took the Scots from 14-23 to lead 24-23 and forcing Faroese head coach Romica Oster into her first time-outs. Scotland held their nerve after the Faroese players saved three set points and had one of their own before Anna Sunadóttir Hansen’s hit was long and Scotland won it 29-27.
The Faroe Islands looked deflated at the start of the second set but clawed back from 21-15 to 21-21 with some strong serving from Petra Sunadóttir Hansen. A great reach by Rachel Morrison took Scotland to 24-22 but the Faroe Islands saved two set points before the Scottish block held up on the third set point as the set was won 26-24.
Scotland kept their focus in the third set and never looked like losing their grip on the match.
“As a coach, you never given up on a set no matter how far you are behind. We changed the balance of the team – we needed some tough serving and Louise gave us that,” said Scotland assistant coach Tom Rooney.
“Even if we had lost that first set, I think we could still have won. This is a great group of players and there is still more to come from them,” Faroese assistant coach Magnus Tausen said. “It’s disappointing for us to get so close in two matches but to come away with nothing.”
The Faroe Islands recovered to beat an improving Northern Ireland 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-11) with Anna Sunadóttir Hansen the top scorer with 13 points and Judith McClure the top receiver in the match for the Irish.
Cyprus continued to impress and were convincing (25-14, 25-14, 25-11) winners over Luxembourg. Vasiliki Chatzikonstanta was their top hitter with 17 points and Antrea Tooulia produced some tough serving, including eight aces.
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